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Cast of Wonders 53: The Cruel Sister


Show Notes

Today we present The Cruel Sister by James Breyfogle. James writes fantasy and Science Fiction from his home in Pennsylvania.

Your narrator is the fabulous Tina Connolly! Tina lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF 2008. Her debut fantasy novel IRONSKIN is forthcoming from Tor in October 2012, with a sequel in 2013. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and is narrating a 2012 flash podcasting venture called Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. Her website is here. Check the shownotes for details.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

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Cast of Wonders 52: Retention


Show Notes

Today we present Retention by Jason Heitkamper. Jason is a student writer attending St. Petersburg College where he have participates in creative and film writing classes in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature. This is Jason’s first first publishing credit. We’re very pleased for Jason and hope you enjoy the story as much as we do!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

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Cast of Wonders 51: Off Button

Show Notes

Today we present Off Button by Shannon M Wendt. Shannon has had recent writing credits in The Washington Pastime, Cygnus, and Nine, among others. When she isn’t working at one of her two day jobs, Shannon spends her time writing fiction and taking photographs. She lives in wind-blown, sun-blasted New Mexico with her husband and five rescued dogs. She dreams of verdant forests and rain. You can find out more about Shannon and her work her website.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Off Button

by Shannon M Wendt

Serious, fourteen-year-old Becky Brown, with her over-large glasses and unruly brown hair, is considered the best babysitter in town and has a reputation of being able to tame even the most difficult brat. She is so popular and in-demand that parents bring their kids to Becky’s place instead of the other way around. On any given night, she has anywhere from three to a maximum of fifteen children in her care.

Becky is such a prolific sitter that she keeps an accounting ledger of her booming, little business. She can tell at a glance who her best clients are and who owes her money (although she rarely agrees to babysit “on account”). She makes between $600 and $1,200 per week, and has even been known to give her parents a loan from time to time (with interest, of course).
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Cast of Wonders 50: The Great Game, Part 3 – The Empty Quarter

Show Notes

The Empty Quarter is part 3 of a series of stories called The Great Game by James Vachowski and narrated by Barry J Northern. To find other episodes in the series search for the tag The Great Game.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Great Game, Part 3 — The Empty Quarter

by James Vachowski

My dearest child,

I was delighted to receive your most recent correspondence. In response to your inquiry, it would give me the utmost pleasure to assist with your History essay. I did indeed serve with Colonel Lawrence during the Arabian campaign, but in those days, before his fame reached its peak, Lawrence of Arabia was known to us simply as Toms.
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Cast of Wonders 49: Miranda and the Butterfly

Show Notes

Today we present Miranda and the Butterfly by Abigail Hilton. We’re very pleased to feature Abigail again; welcome back! You may remember that she started us off in Episode 1 with A Suitable Pet.

Abigail is a nurse anesthetist and writer who lives in Florida. Her works are primarily set in the world of Panamindorah and are available as free audio downloads or as eBooks from Amazon, B&N and the like. You can listen to her trilogy, The Prophet of Panamindorah, for free.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Miranda and the Butterfly

by Abigail Hilton

When Miranda was seven, she asked her mother whether she had a daddy. “Yes, he was a traveling salesman.” Her mother sounded so disgusted that Miranda didn’t ask again until she was ten. This time, her mother said, “He was a lousy, no good, lying fairy.”

Miranda took this to mean that her father was gay, an idea she accepted philosophically. Miranda had a friend, Jeremy, who was gay. As far as Miranda could tell, this meant that Jeremy would admit to liking My Little Ponies and was more fun to play with than other boys. He also got beaten up a lot. When Miranda was twelve, Jeremy decided to become tough in order to keep from getting beaten up. As far as Miranda could tell, being tough meant being a jerk. Miranda missed him.
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Cast of Wonders 48: The Malthus Alternative


Show Notes

Today we present The Malthus Alternative by Jamie Mason. Jamie is a Canadian sci-fi/fantasy short-story author and novelist whose works are characterized by absurdist themes and an exaggeratedly fatalistic world view. His stories have been featured in On Spec, Abyss & Apex and the Canadian Science Fiction Review. His young adult sci-fi novel ECHO was published in June 2011 by Drollerie Press. Find our more on his website

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

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Cast of Wonders 47: I Kill Monsters

Show Notes

Today we present I Kill Monsters by Nathaniel Lee. You may remember Nathaniel from Episodes 3, 4 and 5, Tir Na Nog. Nathaniel lives in North Carolina with his wife, child, and obligatory cats. He puts words in order, and sometimes people give him money for them. His work, including a full bibliography, can be found at his daily writing blog, Mirrorshards where he publishes a 100-word story most days.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


I Kill Monsters

by Nathaniel Lee

Robbie killed monsters. He used a baseball bat, because they didn’t give better weapons to ten-year-olds. It worked well enough. He’d cleaned out his room first, the slithering whispering things under the bed and the Chatterer in the closet. Then the attic, full of Flappers and Flutterers, and one that was more like a fog or a mist than anything solid. He’d poked holes in it with the bat, then swirled the bat around until the drifting fog-thing shrieked and funneled up through a crack in the ceiling like a tornado in reverse.
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Cast of Wonders 46: The Great Game, Part 2 – The Great Game

Show Notes

The Great Game is part 2 of a series of stories called The Great Game by James Vachowski and narrated by Barry J Northern. To find other episodes in the series search for the tag The Great Game.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Great Game, Part 2 — The Great Game

by James Vachowski

Where do you go in such a hurry, young one?

The football pitch? Bah! Athletics are absurd habits, child. Ah, but I forget that youth is wasted on the young! One would hope that your schooling would encourage you to seek exercise for your mind as well. Hmm. I cannot help but wonder what passes for education these days.

There is but one sport: Chess. It is the Great Game. The chessboard never lies, young one. The movements must be precise, yet in line with a grand strategy to ensure final victory.

And sportsmanship, that lie propagated by coaches everywhere, does not exist in chess! Yes, we all occupy a certain station in life, but make no mistake, some lives are inherently more valuable than others. Pawns and kings may appear to occupy equal spaces on the board, but whom do you think will be sacrificed first?
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Cast of Wonders 45: Finding the Blue Door


Show Notes

Today we present Finding the Blue Door by L. Lambert Lawson. L. Lambert Lawson writes from his library in Southern California. From 2005-2007, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. He is the publisher of Kazka Press, an independent SFF press with a monthly flash fiction contest. He can be found online or on Twitter.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

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Cast of Wonders 44: Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich


Show Notes

Today we present Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich by Spencer Koelle. Spencer tell us, “This is the first story I wrote at Susquehanna University. I’d transferred into the college as a creative writing major, and when I found out I hadn’t been registered for any creative writing classes, I pledged to make up for that deficit by writing at least two new short stories that term.

You can find out more about Spencer here.

Your narrator is is our own regular reader, Danielle Daly. Welcome back Dani!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

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Cast of Wonders 43: The Great Game, Part 1 – Khyber

Show Notes

Khyber is part of a series of stories called The Great Game. There’s seven in the series and we’ll be running all seven on Cast of Wonders over the coming months, probably once a month. This is our first series; we hope you’ll look forward to it as much as we are!

The Great Game is by James Vachowski. James works as a “quality assurance technician” for airport Duty Free Shops, where he strives to ensure that your next tax-exempt purchase meets or exceeds your high standards. When not living out of a suitcase and hopping between glamorous international terminals, he writes fiction. You can find out more about James at his website or on Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook.

Your narrator is Cast of Wonders Editor, Barry J Northern.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Great Game, Part 1 — Khyber

by James Vachowski

So it’s a story you want, is it?

Then be gone from here. Stories are but lies, gift-wrapped in sugary coatings that tickle the listener’s ear. If it is stories you want, run along to the lending library with the other children, where you can waste your days reading of wizards and faeries and their ilk.

But if your heart seeks the truth… then I may indeed have a tale for you.
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Cast of Wonders 42: Campfire Story


Show Notes

Today we present Campfire Story by Mark Brandon Allen. Mark began writing Science Fiction and Fantasy purely for the amusement of his friends, children and grandchildren. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana where a vicious three pound Yorkshire terrier holds both he and his wife hostage. His work has been published in the pages of Demon Minds Anthology, Bull Spec, The Last Man Anthology, Sounds Of The Night, Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011 and Polluto amongst others. You can find out more about Mark at http://markbrandonallen.com/.

Mark also has a book out on the Lulu Books website — ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION issue #1. Within the context of Fantasy and Science Fiction pulps, ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION has much to recommend itself to the speculative fiction reader. The nineteen ifs within the book’s lineup make a meaty and satisfying read. For more about the book, go to lulu.com and search for “ifs IMAGINE” or “Mark Brandon Allen”. Available as an ePub file or a paperback. Also available as a Kindle edition from Smashwords.

A purchase would help this writer stave off abject poverty.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.